Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Absurdity of it all: Xbox One's mandatory online connect and used game fees

Why is the Xbox One shaping up to be one of the worst gaming consoles in history? Get the two cents of FightVG's head honcho inside.

Corporate greed.

Yesterday (May 21) Microsoft held a conference to announce their next generation console in Redmond, Washington. The system would be called the Xbox One. The idea behind the name is to convince consumers that this is the one system you will need for your entertainment. That includes television, music, movies and gaming.

What Microsoft failed to tell us at the conference was that the Xbox One will probably stand unopposed as the worst gaming console to be spewed out of Satan's backside. The number of interesting and horrifying tidbits that were revealed after the fact are appalling. While the insane push of everything outside of gaming was hilarious, the mandatory online connect and used game fees are no laughing matter.

I'll begin with the Xbox One's requirement of online connectivity. A Q&A on the official Xbox press website denies that "always on" Internet connection is mandatory. The issue lies with the fact that a connection to the web is still required to use the console. Kotaku asked Microsoft's corporate vice president Phil Harrison if connecting to the Internet once per day was required for playing single player games. Harrison's response was, "Correct ... I believe it's 24 hours."

Microsoft made an attempt at damage control by telling Polygon that Harrison's comments were for "potential scenarios." Picture a scenario where you're playing a game offline like Injustice: Gods Among Us. If your Internet cuts off randomly for a few days and the Xbox One won't allow you to even hop back on the game's story, what are you going to do? Microsoft says they will not confirm that 24 hours is the time limit, but saying it has been discussed for "potential scenarios" is alarming. I don't care if it's 24 hours or 24 years, let me play what I bought without the bullshit.

As if the mandatory online reports weren't enough, in comes the used game fees. Harrison once again explained to Eurogamer that used games will have to be installed. He then went on to say that, "I can come to your house and I can put the disc into your machine and I can sign in as me and we can play the game ... The bits that are on the disc, I can give to anybody else, but if we both want to play it at the same time, we both have to own it. That's no different to how discs operate today."

What a load of crap.

If I wanted to bring a used Xbox 360 game to a friend's house, I can do that while signing into any profile I desire. This isn't rocket science I've done it before. I can have friends come to my house and they can bring their games and I can play it on any profile and they don't have to sign in. It's a process that's simple and doesn't harm the consumer. Yet the Xbox One seems to punish the gamer for not having an Internet connection and having used games.

Since the installed game is tied to a single Xbox Live account, you can't simply give it to a friend. "We will have a system where you can take that digital content and trade a previously played game at a retail store," Harrison says. This is another example of Microsoft attempting to put a stranglehold on the gaming industry.

Despite the baffling decisions Harrison still says, "Our goal is to make it really customer-centric, really simple and really understandable and we will announce those details in due course." There is nothing simple about being forced to have an Internet connection and being restricted when it comes to your games. In reality, it's actually absurd. Microsoft must love the book, "1984" because they are channeling their inner Big Brother more than ever.

As a gamer, all I want to do is turn on my console or PC knowing that I will have the ability to play without any restrictions. That's why gaming on the PC has become the most rewarding experience to many gamers. The convenience of gaming on consoles is fading. If I have to pay $60 for a Gold membership and still feel like I'm being punished for owning a console, then the Xbox One will not be in my house.

Deal with it.